Long Island Commencement Speakers

Long Island Commencement Speakers

Invited Speaker

Fr. Francis PizzarelliFather Francis Pizzarelli

Father Francis Pizzarelli, SMM, LCSW-R, ACSW, DCSW, began working at SJC Long Island in 1981 as an instructor of social sciences and humanities. A positive force at and outside the College, Fr. Frank is also the founder, executive director and CEO of Hope House Ministries in Port Jefferson, New York.

Founded in 1980, Hope House Ministries is a nonprofit multi-faceted human services agency that services the poor and the young, as well as families in crisis. After opening Hope House, Fr. Frank founded additional buildings that offer residential and treatment facilities to nearly two thousand Long Islanders each month. He founded Pax Christi, a hospitality center for the homeless, in 1992; Hope Academy, a long-term, residential treatment center for those struggling with addiction, in 2001; Montfort Therapeutic Residence/Our Lady of Peace Academy, an intensive treatment facility for court-mandated 11-18 year olds, in 2004; and St. Maximilian Klobe Outpatient Addictions Treatment Center in 2010.

Fr. Frank earned his B.A. in Sociology with minors in theology and philosophy from St. John’s University in 1974. He attained an M.A. in Theology for Ordination from the Catholic University of America in 1978. In 1992, he received his M.S.W. from Fordham University.


Undergraduate Speaker

Courtney Cowie-SladkyCourtney Cowie-Sladky

B.A. in English with a Concentration in Adolescence Education

After transferring to SJC Long Island from Suffolk County Community College, Courtney Cowie-Sladky immersed herself in the College’s community. She helped gain Kappa Delta Pi, an international honor society of education, a chapter on campus, becoming the vice president after its September 2017 inception. Cowie-Sladky was also a member of Sigma Tau Delta, an international excelled English honor society, and the English Club.

Throughout her time at SJC Long island, Cowie-Sladky excelled academically. She presented at Longwood University’s Meeting in the Middle Conference — a niche conference for students studying the Medieval period — in April 2018. She presented at Oneonta’s New Critics Conference and chaired a panel there, also in April 2018. Finally, she presented at our own Undergraduate Symposium in May 2018.

While balancing methods, wedding planning (Cowie-Sladky married her longtime boyfriend Bobby Sladky in April 2018), viral tonsillitis, work and her religion, Cowie-Sladky managed to maintain her 4.0 GPA.


Graduate Speaker

Sarah Erin GriffithsSarah Erin Griffiths

M.A. in Literacy and Cognition

Sarah Erin Griffiths received her B.A. in Child Study with a minor in speech from St. Joseph’s College in 2016. Having enjoyed the College’s education department and appreciating the small size of the campus, Griffiths returned to SJC Long Island in fall 2016 for her M.A. in Literacy and Cognition. She graduated in June 2018 with a 3.9 GPA.

While she currently works as a fourth grade teacher at Harbor Country Day School in St. James, New York, Griffiths is applying to public schools, hoping to get her foot in the door for future career opportunities.